You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

OSX Tip: Palua


Using Blender on OSX can be awkward as OSX tends to use the function keys for other functions such as screen brightness, exposé and iTunes control. You can change this behavior in the system settings, but going back and forth is a pain. Here's a little tool that allows you to automatically toggle the mode of the function keys when you use Blender.

Product description:

Quickly switch the mode of your Function Keys on any Mac keyboard!

You need to run a game, or start a graphic application, or work on a project that need F1-F12 as function keys, just hit option+command+TAB and the switch will happen.

With Palua, you just need one click - or one hotkey - to toggle the mode your Fx keys are.

  • SMART Mode: Key mode changes with the application that has the focus. When an application has the wrong mode, hit the shortcut, and the settings is automatically stored in the pref if it wasn't defined before.
  • Fast Switching: Right click the icon in the menu bar to switch the mode.
  • Customizable shortcut: Use the one you like, thanks to the shortcut recorder (see About screen)
  • Icons theme: Choose from four different themes for your icons displayed in the menu bar
  • Notifications: Added Growl support, and the possibility to have NO notifications at all.

I just tried Palua and it works like a charm!


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. you could as well just hit fn+F1-F12... but hey, why don't spend money if you can ;-) (no offense)

    in my oppinion the better tip is: KeyRemap4MacBook, since newer Macbook don't have the function of Keypad, and with this you get them back on fn+zuihjknm,

    • Yep. I just went into system preferences and made it so the F keys send F(number) and I press Fn+F(number) for the "special features."

  2. I have a HP laptop that's like this but the only setting to change it is in the BIOS. And the other people who use it don't want the F-keys as the main function so I'm stuck.

  3. Good to know.  I had to resort to mapping the render F12 to Ctrl+Shift+R and restore screen F11 to Ctrl+Shift+T just to use blender on this iMac at work.

  4. permanent_vacationer on

    I have the "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" setting enabled in System Preferences->Keyboard, and I prefer to keep it that way, because I like to be able to hit F9 or F10 for Exposé, F11 for Show Desktop and F12 for Dashboard.

    Which brings me to another problem for which I have been longing for a solution for ages: those keybindings in System Preferences->Exposé & Spaces override application-specific functions (almost always with one exception, being Starcraft 2, which has an option to override this itself) and no one seems to have that issue (I guess nobody has assigned those function keys in Exposé & Spaces) because there isn't a single app in existence that would automatically change this for specific apps.

    Palua comes close – I actually got a bit excited when I saw this post thinking that this was finally the app to make my life easier – but then I realized that.. meh, it just changes the FN-key behavior :(.

    There is actually an app, that I know of, that does what I described, but it's made by an amateur programer and is limited to Valve games. The chap said he'd rewrite it from scratch, as a System Preferences pane that would work with any app, when he gets the time to do it, but alas he hasn't produced any such program yet. Here is the thread if anyone's interested:

    Finally, I did send a message to the developers of Palua to ask them if they could implement a feature like that in their 4.0 update or whatever. It would totally make my day if I get a positive response to that. Then I could finally use Blender and some other apps without constantly having to go into System Preferences and un/bind the keys for Exposé there.

  5. Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

    But will it add more butons to your one-button mouse?

    Face it, Macs are a pain as a platform for running Blender. Wouldn’t you rather use something that Just Works™?

      • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

        I used an Imac at a friend’s place just a couple of months ago. It only had a one-button mouse. And no numeric keypad, which Blender uses so much. And the the inability to use the function keys to perform Blender functions.

        In short, it was a complete pain to run Blender on.

          • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

            I’m sure you can. And you can plug any PC you like into those keyboards and mice, it doesn’t have to be an Apple.

            See what I did there?

          • permanent_vacationer on

            So compatibility of these input peripherals is not of concern when deciding between Mac or PC. That's as much a pro-PC argument as it is a pro-Mac, and in any case, not relevant to the issue at hand.The discussion is futile. You are obviously an adamant Windows user. You invoked the long-obsolete "Macs have primitive pointing devices" argument only to stir somebody up.Also, just because the Mighty Mouse doesn't look like a multi-button mouse, doesn't mean it isn't one:

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.